Volcanic ash from Iceland costs corporations close to US$400 million


According to a survey conducted by the National Business Travel Association (NBTA) Foundation, travel was negatively impacted for 80 percent of companies affected by the volcanic ash that covered Iceland and parts of Europe. In the survey, 234 corporate travel managers at major companies worldwide were questioned.

The survey found that the volcanic ash cost more than US$197,000 on average in unexpected travel expenses and stranded 160 travelers for each of the 2000 companies represented in the survey.

It also indicated that more than 310,000 travelers experienced travel disruptions, costing the surveyed companies more than US$367 million collectively.

The closure of European air space also saw many business trips cancelled with NBTA-affiliated companies canceling nearly 5,600 scheduled corporate meetings and more than 165,000 total trips that had not yet taken place.

“The direct financial impact of this incident in terms of additional travel spend is astounding, but just imagine how much more loss companies will experience due to lost opportunities,” said NBTA executive director Michael W. McCormick.

“Meetings were cancelled, clients were not met, hands were not shaken, and deals were not made.

“Those missed business opportunities will take their toll, and companies will have to get their people back on the road quickly to make up for it.”

“The companies that don’t have strong travel management programs in place likely did not meet their duty-of-care responsibilities through this crisis.

“In the coming weeks, I expect they will be examining their policies and deciding to implement travel management best practices, such as centralized booking and people tracking.”